Independence Day Jump-Up Parade

Belize, 36 years old and still partying like a youngster

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Belize Independence Day Parade in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Celebrating 36 years of freedom.

“Our determination to keep things stable and our country free must never falter. And it is in that context that I endorse this September’s thematic call for us to ceaselessly renew our nation-building resolve. But let our patriotism be year-round, and not just a seasonal thing. Let it be a wellspring for inexhaustible optimism, for never seeing through a glass, darkly. And let it ensure that the inevitable disagreements within a democracy on the move, never become so dissonant as to upset our ultimate oneness and indivisibility. As it is on this day, on this venerated hill, so let it be always: that red and white and blue and white in the end merge to become red, blue and white.”

— Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize, Independence Day 2017

Here’s some more about the prime minister’s speech.

As expected, this morning’s 10 a.m. Independence Day jump-up parade in San Pedro, Belize, began right on time: about 12:30 p.m.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Independence Day II: Chalk! Chalk! Chalk!

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My favorite photo of the day. Who is this woman who walks into the heart of the chalk fling thing in a white dress and pearls. She is so serene, so of and yet not of the mayhem around her. Who is this woman?
My favorite photo of the day. Who is this woman who walks into the heart of the chalk fling thing in a white dress and pearls. She is so serene, so of and yet not of the mayhem around her. Who is this woman?

Last year, the San Pedro Town Council raised the bar on Independence Day with the introduction of the Flying Pinata — a candy drop from a hovering helicopter — and the chalk fling thing.

The chalk fling thing is a variation on the paint thing that marks the Carnival time leading up to Lent. Kids run around Central Park and specific blocks of downtown smearing each other with water soluble paints (hopefully washable). Adults even get a chance to join in because — well, it’s fun. Why leave all the fun stuff up to the kids???

You can see remnants of the paint days all over town in the form of handprints and paint smears on walls.

With chalk, you get the bright colors and frenzied rush that  comes with dusting up everyone around you in electric pink and green and yellow clouds. Staffers toss the packets of chalk into the crowd and you basically become the color of the person next to you who opens the packet and flings it into the air. Read the rest of this entry »

San Pedro’s post-parade is pretty in pink in the park — and blue, yellow, orange . . . Part 2

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Chalk bombs erupt in Central Park after the parade on Sunday, drenching fans in a rainbow of color as Gilharry 7 rocks the stage.
Chalk bombs erupt in Central Park after the parade on Sunday, drenching fans in a rainbow of color as Gilharry 7 rocks the stage.

San Pedro’s deputy mayor Gary Greif stepped into the cool shadows of the Holiday Hotel lobby shortly after the end of the Independence Day Jump-up Parade on Sunday.

It was hot out there. And it had been a long and exhausting march for all. (See photos and read about the parade here.)

But Gary was excited: “We’re on our way to Central Park. There’s going to be a big surprise there in about 10 minutes! Don’t miss it.” Read the rest of this entry »

San Pedro is at its best when there is a parade going on, Part 1

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Welcome to the San Pedro Independence Day Jump-Up parade.
Welcome to the San Pedro Independence Day Jump-Up parade.

San Pedro finally pulled off its annual Independence Day Jump-Up Parade on Sunday. Some badly timed — but badly needed — rain pushed back the parade but all that pent up energy came out in a glorious explosion of music, color and bodily motion and marchers danced and preened their way from Boca del Rio to Central Park under a gloriously blue Belize sky.

It was hot, hot hot.

Parades just bring out the best in Ambergris Caye — the most adorable children, the most loving parents and families, the most beautiful dancers (male and female) and the most uninhabited enthusiasm of those who watch and cheer. Read the rest of this entry »